A revival of Jewish consciousness became apparent all over the world in the 1950's following the destruction of the Central European Jewish communities during World War II. This was reflected in Perth with the establishment in February 1957 of the Seeligson Kindergarten, with 17 pupils. The success of this undertaking led to a meeting of parents in 1958 resolving to start a day school.
Carmel School opened in 1959 with 11 pupils, housed in premises adjoining the Shule in Brisbane Street. In 1962 the School moved to new premises on the Maccabean Grounds in Yokine. The JN Shohet Junior High School was established in 1974, followed by the JJ & N Krasnostein Senior High School in February 1978, allowing the school to cater for all levels from kindergarten to Year 12.
In an early address to parents and prospective parents, Dr Ossie Tofler AM, one of the founding fathers of Carmel School, described the school thus: "Those of you who are not familiar with the School, let me tell you what it consists of. We have two teachers. Miss Shelton teaches the usual things one learns at school and we ..Miss Finkelstein teaches the children Jewish subjects”.
The "usual things one learns at school” are radically different now than they were 50 years ago. Just as the invention of the printing press changed the face of education, so too have the advances in technology, the recognition of multiple intelligences and the neurological research into how children learn. The range of challenging and relevant learning experiences now aim to provide students with the skills to face the challenges of the future, to become active citizens of the world, leaders, life-long learners and thinkers who value creative pursuits. All of this is underpinned by the immersion of students in their Jewish culture that informs and enriches the learning environment.
The continuity in the educational and personal growth of students from Kindergarten to Year 12 ensures that new learning builds on an appropriate foundation of prior learning and experiences. The development of resilience, self-esteem and feelings of self worth within a safe, nurturing community are seen to be as central to the educational experience as academic rigour.
From the seed of its humble beginning with 11 pupils in 1959, Carmel School has flourished. Today the School has high quality purpose-built facilities to support over 600 students in every area of school activities.
But while our buildings, resources and educational practice have both seen enormous changes over 50 years, Carmel School's mission as a thriving centre of academic excellence and Jewish life and learning remains.